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Victims of progress - UK Essays
The introduction of biological evolution into writings on progressenabled a new form of Eurocentrism, one founded on biologicalracism. Spencer enlists evolutionary theory to claim that differentraces of human beings exist and form a clear hierarchy: “Thecivilized man departs more widely from the general type of theplacental mammalia than do the lower human races” (1857, 18).This includes mental characteristics: “Judging from the greater extentand variety of faculty he exhibits, we may infer that the civilizedman has also a more complex or heterogenous nervous system than theuncivilized man” (1857, 18). Spencer's racism is central to hisview of humans as a group and of human potential. Ultimately it callsinto question whether he can be said truly to propose an account ofprogress.
States shall take the necessary steps with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of this right”, thus affirming the basic human right to life and health that is guaranteed under international human rights law....
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The content of the laws of progress, however, is an object ofcontention. Many thinkers, including Hegel and Auguste Comte, view thedevelopment of ideas over time as the fundamental change that causesoverall improvement. Marx, in contrast, regards the growth of themeans of production as primary. Kant represents a third category,arguing that a tension within human nature itself is the source ofchange. We will also see theorists who offer more eclectic causalstories and, because their accounts of change are more complicated,are less inclined to formalize their conclusions. Next to content,thinkers differ in their treatment of episodes of devastation andconflict and periods of decline. It is hard for anyone to sustain theargument that improvement is perfectly linear, but some theorists morethan others emphasize that such episodes and eras can be part of apattern of long-term improvement. Furthermore, the extent to whichthe laws are deterministic varies. Some authors leave little room forchoice and contingency, while others frame their generalizations asloose trends that constrain rather than determine the course ofevents. Authors in the latter category often present their writingsas political interventions that can shape the future as well aspredict it.
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You may have encountered debates that pit one side against another side, with little to no ground for any other position. For instance, the death penalty and abortion both have debates that are either/or debates. Other debates, such as Affirmative Action, which has many differing and conflicting aspects, values, facets, and definitions is clearly not an either/or debate. In either/or debates, resolution, victory, or progress often seem to be slowed by the fact that both sides are unwilling to yield any ground in the debate. Both sides have much at stake, whether it is social, financial, or moral, in achieving total victory. One of the problems with trying to join into these either/or debates is the lack of civility and, in some cases, humanity, that either sides practices within the debate. Sometimes the rudeness, hatefulness, and incivility problems involve debates that are not either/or debates.
Another method would be to see which of the points could be combined with another point (or maybe even combine three points) so that you could maintain a subject-by-subject structure. To do this, you might say that sticker price, gas mileage, and resale value are all brief amounts of number-based information that could be combined together. You would be combining these three points (sticker price, gas mileage, and resale value) for each subject (the Honda and the Ford), and you would write all three points in a separate body paragraph. So, to do this, you would have:
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See more like this Essays on the Progress of Nations: ..
Despite his reputation as a classic Victorian progressive, Mill ismore cautious and less deterministic than the other 19th-centurywriters treated by this essay. He believes that continued improvementis possible, but not by any means inevitable. Progress in Europe willcome to a halt if institutions silence society's creativemembers (1859, 80–82). Mill's works derive their urgency fromthe fact that he clearly thinks they can make a realdifference. On Liberty focuses on the argument forgovernment non-interference. On Representative Governmentdiscusses some of the ways that democratic institutions could bereformed to promote different points of view actively.
The Age of Progress? - Northern State University
Mill thinks that it is impossible to find a single set of institutionsthat is progressive for all times and places. The most that we can dois to specify what institutions are best for societies at a givenlevel of civilization. Mill controversially argues that despoticgovernments may push “barbarians” to the next level ofcivilization (1859, 14–15). But Mill argues that in more advancedsocieties, free institutions promote further progress. They do so byallowing ideological conflict, which is a powerful engine ofideological development. Mill worries about the transition from oneset of institutions to another. Civilizations can reach a certainlevel of development and then stagnate because they do not undergoinstitutional change (1861a, 234–5).
Progress (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Mill's writings establish connections among utility, liberty,and political institutions. Like his father, James Mill, and JeremyBentham, Mill is a utilitarian. Utility, or aggregate pleasure (1861b,137), provides the ultimate standard for comparing two historical erasor two contemporaneous societies. The claim that humanity isprogressing means that utility is increasing over time. Then, in A System of Logic, Mill, following Comte (606), argues that thedevelopment of ideas drives the development of society as a whole(604). Finally, in On Liberty and On RepresentativeGovernment, Mill considers how a society's institutions canretard or accelerate ideological development.
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A fellow Victorian philosopher, Herbert Spencer (1820–1903) is muchmore deterministic than Mill. Spencer views human progress as oneaspect of a universe in perpetual development. Spencer constructs hisexplanatory framework from materials from the biological sciences. Heis keenly interested in theories of biological evolution, bothLamarckian and then Darwinian.
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